Jack Ross spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Sunderland's trip to Shrewsbury.
The Sunderland boss provided injury updates on Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore, as well as the players who have recently returned following international call-ups.
Here is the manager's full TV transcript, including his thoughts on the international break and Saturday's opponents.
How was the break?
Ross said: "There are two sides to it, we were in a decent vein of form and built a bit of momentum but we would have been without important players.
"Also, it has been demanding from day one with everything that has gone on, very intense, so it was a chance to have a breather, you don't get many in this league.
"I wouldn't want too many of them though, we don't want a backlog of fixtures further down the line.
"Points on the board are more important than games in hand. If we know we win that game in hand then it propels us back up again.
"It was one of those weekends that happens, those teams having good seasons got good results.
"We know if we keep producing positive results then we will at least stay where we are and hopefully progress further up."
International players come back okay?
Ross said: "Jon McLaughlin was first back as Scotland played their second fixture on Sunday, Tom only joined today as Northern Ireland played Bosnia on Tuesday night and Bryan only travelled back to the UK back this morning, he was playing Wednesday night.
"The ones I have seen are all back healthy including Bali, he was back training with us.
"Bryan played a couple of games but he is suspended anyway. They are all fit and healthy, this and last week has been a bit fragmented in terms of numbers."
"The only one who is back available is Lynden, he has trained all week, we believed that would be the case and he has trained really well, Glenn will train next week or get close to full training.
"Charlie [Wyke] and Denver [Hume] are making progress, they have a bit to go, Donald [Love] is back training as well so we are getting there.
"The suspensions skew it a little bit, obviously we don't have Max Power or Bryan Oviedo this weekend and it means we are still relying on Bali [Mumba] and Benji [Kimpioka] to supplement the squad, which is no bad thing in terms of their ability but they are very young."
Back to back away games
Ross said: "We have had it before this season. Logistically these are a bit easier travelling wise but they are two tough games.
"Selling out our allocation is outstanding and just shows the loyalty, it brings a greater intensity and a cup-tie style environment.
"We expect that Saturday and Tuesday when it comes around too."
That intensity contribute to the red cards?
"I would take Max's first red card out, I wasn't convinced and we did appeal it. It was an attempt to play the ball.
"The other two, it was difficult to defend, I have already said that.
"There is a group of players that are desperate to bring the success back to the club they feel it and carry that responsibility."
Ross said: "Naturally when they played so well for large parts of last season and went so close to achieving promotion, there will be a bit of a hangover to that.
"They lost Paul to Ipswich and important players too, there is a certain element of rebuilding, it does take time to build a squad, we faced that here for many different reasons.
"They will be frustrated they haven't managed to carry that momentum on but they are a good side and proved that last year.
"It is another difficult game for us, every game is."
Biggest game of the season for clubs when Sunderland travel away?
Ross said: "There are other big clubs in this league, who will take big away followings, Portsmouth and Barnsley but we do face it every time we go away from home.
"Countless times this season home fans come out in bigger numbers and really back the home team, Bradford had close to 20k in the stadium, a home support that even when they were a goal down responded to the challenge.
"We are getting better at it and realising that challenge is there and responding to it, every single game has a buzz about it."
On Duncan Watmore?
Ross said: "Watmore has had a week of training, he has done everything but it is too soon for him at the moment."
When asked if he was nearing an U23 game, Ross said: "He is getting ever closer.
"One thing when I first came in here, he was one of the first players I met in the summer, I get on well with him we had good chats and we continue to do that.
"I stressed there is a duty of care from me and he club, he has had two injuries. We were never putting a time frame on it and that has helped him, I think.
"He is so positive in terms of where he is at at the moment. He is a very positive individual anyway.
"He has progressed really well and his knee is in a good place. I have never put timeframes on it but it will be soon.
"Once he gets past that milestone he will be ever closer to being involved with us.
"It will be very much sooner rather than later, from what I have seen from him this week he will be in a good place.
"He has trained really well and feels good. This has been another week to tick off when that game comes around then it will be another thing to tick off on his way to a full recovery."